The biggest news for Blizzard coming out of Gamescom was the World of Warcraft: Legion expansion. However, the most surprising news was the addition of four new heroes and a new battlefield to Blizzard's popular MOBA, Heroes of the Storm. While fans of the game already knew that a Monk from the Diablo series was coming, the other three heroes caught most completely off-guard.
The Monk from Diablo 3 will be the next hero to make his way into the Nexus. As a melee Support class, Kharazim is unique in that he can choose between one of three traits at the beginning of the match. These traits directly impact his abilities for the remainder of the battle. One trait allows him to use a build dedicated to healing, a second shifts his focus to damage and the final trait offers a happy median between the two.
As one of the most versatile heroes in the game and definitely the most versatile Support character, Kharazim is likely to be a very popular choice. In Quick Match mode, having this kind of versatility is a huge benefit because you don't always get a standard team composition. It's not uncommon to end up with a team that has no healer or too many healers. Having the ability to switch to a full healer, partial healer or full DPS class at the start of the match is invaluable.
Rexxar and Misha
The popular hero from the Warcraft series (and prominent in Hearthstone) heads into the Nexus as a ranged Warrior class. He brings his trusty bear Misha with him and this tag team has a unique play style somewhat similar to The Lost Vikings. You control Rexxar and issue commands to Misha to attack enemies and absorb damage. Misha can be killed and takes a few seconds before you can call the beast back into action. During this period of time, Rexxar takes a considerable hit to his power. A common strategy against Rexxar may be to focus Misha first, but we'll have to see how the metagame evolves.
Using Rexxar effectively will require some good positions, which is why they have been compared to The Lost Vikings. For instance, in narrow pathways you can position Misha on one end and Rexxar on the other to body block the opposing hero and keep them pinned down. Rexxar can also call forth other beasts that can catch most heroes and slows their movement speed. This allows Misha and Rexxar to catch up and finish the job.
Another Warrior being added to the Nexus is Artanis, leader of the Protoss from the Starcraft universe. We don't have many details on Artanis at this point, but as a melee Warrior, he should offer a very different play style compared to Rexxar. Blizzard claims Artanis will bring some heavy hitting abilities to the Nexus, so he may be a Warrior who can dish out some damage, which seems to be the current trend in Heroes of the Storm. It's not uncommon to see Warrior heroes such as Anub'arak at the top of the damage charts.
The Medic from Starcraft will be entering the Nexus as well. As a primary Support class, the Medic's healing ability should rival that of Li Li, the only other Support character in the game whose primary focus is healing (everyone else has crowd control and other abilities). The Medic will have grenades to disrupt enemy heroes, and can also use a shield for what is assumed to be both defensive and offensive purposes. However, it's the Medic's Heroic ability that will really change things up. Calling down a Medivac from the Koprulu Sector, the Medic and an ally can travel short or long distances. This could easily result in an epic Core push when used under the right circumstances.
Rounding out the Heroes of the Storm announcements at Gamescom we have the new battleground, Infernal Shrines. Using similar assets to the Battlefield of Eternity battleground, this three-lane map is based on the Diablo franchise. There are three shrines that periodically gain power and unleash a devastating Punisher that will attack opposing heroes and push lanes.
We'll have more on Heroes of the Storm as these new heroes and the Infernal Shrine are released. There's no date yet on when we can expect them, but while we wait check out our notes on how the Monk (Kharazim) plays!